6 household items that may cause itchy nose and skin

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Don't know why you're suddenly scratching and sneezing non-stop? Find out if you have allergens lurking at home.

If you're beginning to suspect that you're allergic to something at home, you may, unfortunately, be right. The good news is that this should be a relatively easy problem to fix. Check to see if one or more of these things at home may be causing the problem.

PAINTS THAT RELEASE VOLATILE ORGANIC COMPOUNDS (VOCS)

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Some solvents and chemicals in paints give off VOCs as the paint dries, and these compounds could irritate your nose, eyes, and throat, or cause headaches and dizziness. Avoid these symptoms by looking for paints with little to no VOC, such as those from Dulux or Nippon Paint.

PLYWOOD OR PARTICLEBOARD FURNITURE

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Don't get giddy on that 'new furniture smell'. That's probably the smell of VOCs and formaldehyde being released into the air, a process known as 'off-gassing'. Going for natural and untreated furniture may help, but if you don't have the budget for those, be sure to air out your home regularly to avoid breathing in those fumes. Alternatively, you could look into secondhand furniture as VOC levels dip over time.

SYNTHETIC MATTRESSES, COUCHES AND CARPETS

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It's hard to avoid potentially irritating chemicals with these, so since you spend so much time with these items, try to go for those that are as natural or organic as possible. Alternatively, try to air out your new bed, sofa, or carpet for a week in a well-ventilated space.

DIRTY ACS AND FANS

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A dirty fan could be flinging dust all over your room, so be sure to clean the blades and grill at least once a month. You should also clean out your air-con filters monthly to prevent bacteria and mould from growing in the unit and causing unpleasant odours. If your AC comes with an air-purifying mode (available on the Samsung 5 Ticks Multi-Split and LG Artcool Plus), be sure to make use of it, especially during the flu and haze season, as it could remove close to 100 per cent of contaminants, dust and allergens in the air.

 

AN OUTDATED AND CLOGGED VACUUM CLEANER

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Invest in a new machine that comes with a HEPA filter that traps dust, pet dander, and mites more efficiently. It's probably also going to be more powerful and less noisy than your current model.

THE 'WRONG' HOUSE PLANTS

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Plants are supposed to clean the air, but the 'wrong' ones could cause all sorts of allergy problems. It could be that you're allergic to a certain type of pollen, or that the plant traps dust on its leaves and fuzzy stems. You could also be allergic to the plant's sap or the bugs the plant attracts.

This article was first published by Shape.

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